There are two more questions to be answered from the text we are studying:
Why did Christ not take from their common purse?
Why was the instruction given to Peter specific and detailed?
The payment of the Temple tax was a personal issue and not a ministry affair.Jesus was supposed to pay his Temple tax as an individual.He could have asked Judas to make the money available from their common purse without anybody raising an eyebrow. But He didn’t.Rather,He devised a means of paying the Tax by sourcing it outside the common purse.
This is a lesson for us today.Why?
It takes a high level of integrity not to misuse your position as a leader especially on money matters.It would have been easier for Christ retrieve the four-dranchma from the treasurer than send someone to the lake to get a coin from the fish.But He took the tough route in getting the Tax paid.The integrity of a man is actually put to test in similar circumstances.
Why was the instruction so specific and detailed?
The truth in this miracle of the coin in the mouth of the fish is that it is symbolic of the death and resurrection of Christ!The Temple tax from Part 1 of this series means atonement money.Jesus was actually the coin(the atonement money) that was paid for the atonement of our sins.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel,which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.”-Exodus 30:11-16
Jesus represents the Temple Tax(The atonement money).He was the ransom paid for our redemption.So,He displayed this miracle to show them how the real atonement would be effected.It was a prophetic declaration of how redemption price would be paid.It would be like Jonah in the belly of the fish.
One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah-Matthew 12:38-39
The miracle depicts how Jesus would be in the ‘belly of the fish’ (tomb) and be brought out alive like Jonah.It was a sign of the prophet Jonah.
Simply put,the same way the coin was taken from the mouth of the fish,our atonement would be paid through the sign of Jonah.Therefore,this miracle was not written to make us miraculously bring out money from the mouth of the fish or call out money into our bank account.If we need money,Part 2 of this series shows how Jesus went about sourcing money for His ministry.Read it here
Every miracle of Christ should first be seen through the lens of redemption before extrapolating it for personal aggrandisement or ego tripping.That is the only way not to fall into doctrinal errors.